Review of failures in Nottingham council payment systems show 17 staff may have been underpaid

Nottingham City Council's HQ
Loxley House, Nottingham City Council's headquarters in Station Street
By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter

A review of problems with a payment system used by Nottingham City Council found 17 members of staff may have been underpaid by the authority.

An audit of payment systems looked at 7,000 job contracts and identified possible problems with 364.

These have now been narrowed down to 17 cases where staff may have received incorrect payments.

As part of its internal auditing process, the council reviews key financial systems including Human Resources (HR) and payroll which are operated by the East Midlands Shared Services (EMSS) partnership and the authority itself.

An internal review of the council’s HR and payroll processes had determined there was ‘no assurance’ in these areas in terms of financial standards.

The review highlighted a “poor system of internal control and consistent non-compliance with key controls”, which has resulted in a financial impact to the council.

According to audit documents, the problem relates to a failure of automatic payment systems to increase pay for some staff members.

Issues had been found with payroll systems reflecting changes to someone’s employment status.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the council for an update on the issue, which will be discussed at an Audit Committee meeting on Friday, September 29.

According to the council improvements have already been made to address the issues identified in the report.

Changes to pay and progression mean pay grades of all employees have now been reviewed this year.

A further investigation of the cases will now take place.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the council what the potential value of the underpayments were, but no figure was provided.

The council did however say issues are usually corrected quickly and individual amounts involved are typically relatively low.

Audit documents add: “HR and EDI should work with EMSS and others to investigate and determine the cause of the failure of systems to increase pay.

“In the interim an exception report should be developed to highlight employees who may have not received a pay progression increase.”

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